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Columns: I Miss Halloween

By David North on October 13, 2014

 I Miss Halloween

Holidays have become very important for MMOs.  It allows the developers and players to breathe a bit and just have some good old fashioned fun.  My favorite has always been Halloween, and it’s just right around the corner.  Sadly, there isn’t a lot of attention being thrown towards it.  The first Halloween for Guild Wars 2 was an amazing event that really set the standard for what to expect from the developers, which is why it may have been too good, as the following year was a serious let down.


The first Guild Wars 2 Halloween event was pretty intense.  The most important thing it offered was a thrilling scavenger hunt, which allowed us  to communicate with ghosts who told us the origin of the Mad King Thorn!   Sure we got a new jumping puzzle, and a playable instance, but we knew this type of content was going to be recycled every year.  Last year we were all waiting to see what would replace the scavenger hunt, which gave a good bit of play time, and even rewarded players with a unique skin!  What we got was about 7 minutes of content, most of which was taken up by and NPC talking.  It was neat that they were expanding on the lore of Halloween, but it didn’t put me in the spirit.  I was so disappointed that I just logged off.  In a way, I wonder if it’s my fault for setting my expectations to high, or if ArenaNet id too much during the first year to create these high expectations.

This back piece is so metal!

I’m sure it sounds silly to some, but the holiday festivals are a more important part of the game than you think. So much of the game is focused on adventuring, concentrating on fights, and trying to master the game.  Players need to be pulled away from the seriousness every once in a while, and just play something to have fun.  I know a few players who hate these events because it breaks the immersive experience for them, so they just ignored it.  Still, they’re small in numbers, as I remember having to go into overflows in Lion’s Arch just to check things out.

Too bad Lion’s Arch is destroyed. We won’t get to see these sweet decorations anymore.

We aren’t the only ones who have fun during these events.  I bet the developers have fun designing them.  Normally they have to sit and focus on sticking to a serious storyline, creating epic encounters to test players’ skill, and tie it all together to make an immersive experience.  While that’s fun, it’s always nice to take a break from all the seriousness to just create a fun experience.  Just look the the Mad King’s Clock Tower, and you’ll see something that was a blast to design.

The mind that created this jumping puzzle is sick, twisted, and awesome!

These festivals can also be great for filling in gaps between the Living World content.  Right now, the WvW tournament has kind of been filling that role.  When that’s over, the Halloween event is straight ahead, and if done right it gives us a reason to keep logging in.  If all we see is the same content as last year, then it’s just another slow period, and that’s never good for an MMO.

I’m going to keep my fingers crossed, hoping that something new will be introduced to the Halloween festival this year.  Considering recent events, there’s even a good chance it would last for more than 7 minutes!  I don’t think I’m asking for much.  It would just be nice to do some activities that got me into the Halloween spirit, just as MMOs have done for years.  It would be awesome to see another scavenger hunt, or maybe some new spooky dynamic events to play through in the open world.  Those would be great reasons for my guild and I to log back in.

Do you enjoy holiday events in MMOs?  What did you think of last years Halloween festivities?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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David North / All my life I've been a gamer, from side scrolling adventures to shooters, it was only a mater of time before the RPG genre would grab a hold of me. My love for games grew so much that I started to make them. It grew even more, and now I also write about them.